In a moving ceremony, the memorial plaque for the legendary and unforgettable spiritual and political leader, known as the “Chassidic Prisoner”, Rabbi Mordechai Dubin, was unveiled. He served as a Member of Parliament for the Agudas Israel party while heading the Jewish community in Latvia until 1940 and was instrumental in the release of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe from Soviet prison.
The memorial plaque was arranged after the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, visited the prison last Chanuka and during a meeting with the prison administration told them about Rabbi Dubin who had been incarcerated there for 3 years because of his activities for Russian Jewry. They unanimously decided to commemorate his memory with a plaque, and the Prison Chaplain Rabbi Ahron Gurevitch ensured the idea was turned into a reality.
Rabbi Dubin OBM served as a delegate to the House of Representatives in Latvia and was a very charitable person. With his great spirit and kindness, he worked extensively for the benefit of Russian Jewry. In the First World War, he was able to save thousands of Jews, during the Second World War he was imprisoned in this prison, like so many devoted Chassidim who suffered within these walls that have been working continuously for the past 240 years in the center of Moscow and is known as “Butirsky Prison”.
The ceremony was held a few days ago with Prison Chaplain Rabbi Gurevitch, who acts throughout the year for the benefit of the Jewish prisoners in Russian prisons. Just one example is the establishment of synagogues in various prisons enabling the Jewish prisoners to pray, put on Tefilin, attend Torah and judaisim classes and attend events.
On behalf of the prison services, a distinguished delegation of representatives participated, led by the Deputy Head of the Federal Correctional Service of Russia in Moscow, Matvey Novikov.
The guests gathered in the synagogue located in the southern wing of the prison, along with the Jewish prisoners who were very moved to hear about Rabbi Dubin. They also put on Tefilin and enjoyed the kosher meal provided weekly by Rabbi Shlomo Dishko, along with the weekly activities of Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberg, who are so dedicated to the wellbeing of the Jewish prisoners.
Photography: Butirsky Prison Spokesman